What is a Torrent File?
To find the exact technical definition with all the geeky language that is not the issue here, read this. For purposes of this article, a torrent file is an illegally (or perhaps legally) obtained copy of a television cable show or movie that is recorded, stripped of commercials, compressed, secured in a directory and then uploaded to public torrent sites for users to see without cost.
Why are they made and by whom?
In a very technology-driven day and age when favorite TV shows are usually shown on cable and satellite stations for a fee and gadgets like DVRs can record them for users who pay for the privilege, and there are legitimate companies like Hulu and Netflix to give even more options, the key word here is "cost". In relation to the top television shows like The Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, to view them usually costs money and those who can not afford it, either do without or look for illegal ways to see them. Enter torrent sites like Pirate Bay, Kickass Torrents, TorrenzEU, Extra Torrent and others!
Like most computer hackers in the news today, those who create torrent files (and yes, it is a type of hacking) do it for the love and passion of the craft. They do it because they can. They have a "Robin Hood and his Merry Men" type of mentality; steal from the rich and give to the poor. The less fortunate folks who can't afford expensive cable and satellite TV and/or gadgets are able to see the same shows via torrent files.
It is true that some people pay more for their cable bills than they do for household electricity. But are torrent files that are not sold to make a profit really a crime? Yes, say the television networks, The European Court of Justice, a Dutch anti-piracy group called BRIEN (in English it is BRAIN), The American Motion Picture Association and most law enforcement agencies around the world.
What is being done?
Breaking copyright laws by reproducing without permission, selling pre-programmed media players with links to pirated sources like what is available with Apple TV and Android boxes, Raspberry Pi and Kodi software is all considered illegal. Perhaps, that is why, in spite of their generosity in giving, those nameless, faceless entities who make torrents are not easy to find and take no credit and or money for their work.
According to the legal system, authors have exclusive rights to their works, and only the countries they live in have the legal right to permit reproductions which is the term given to any sound or visual work.
The question: "Is it lawful under EU law to temporarily reproduce content through streaming if the content originates from a third-party website where it’s made available without permission?"
Statistics for Torrent downloads and Estimation of Viewers
In spite of the torrents available and the biggest leak HBO has ever endured, Game of Thrones went on to break all cable legitimate viewing records and remain the top cable show in history, as well as the most pirated.
According to The Drum, the most recent statistics for piracy give the number one spot to The Walking Dead's spin-off summer show, Fear the Walking Dead. What is remarkable, however, is that Game of Thrones remained in the top 10 most pirated shows even during their off season.
Even though the viewers of torrent files do not think of it that way, they are doing a disservice to the very shows they love. However, when money is concerned, or lack of it, the conclusion is that piracy and availability of free downloads will be hard to stop.
Until what we want to watch on television is offered to everyone free or very reasonably priced, the supply and demand of pirated, illegally obtained torrents will continue, especially for blockbuster hits like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead which just started their 6th season.